A Look at the B-K/B-T Connection Crisis
As soon as the rumors started to drift around the internet during last summer that the secrets promised at the end of Banjo-Kazooie would be programmed into Banjo-Tooie into hopping little cartridges, a sense of quiet dread started to fill the hearts of the many Banjoites out there. Run-on sentences aside, we didn't know what to think. Rare hadn't really commented on the Ice Key and it's question marked bird offspring pod compadres since the official announcement of B-T, and the only "official" info we had on a planned connection was the material Rare gave magazines and put on Rarewhere shortly after the original game's release. This complete lack of new knowledge, joined with the fact that as the months grew shorter until Banjo-Tooie was released, certain things like Nintendo executives saying you wouldn't need Banjo-Kazooie to get the secrets in B-T was starting to seriously worry us Banjoites. Most of us were in denial. We knew quite well that for some reason the connection plan was scrapped and we'd be stuck with some poor man's way of getting the Ice Key. That still didn't stop the hurting though when, mere days before B-T's first release on planet Earth, IGN64 dropped the bomb.
They released a movie showing them getting the Ice Key in Banjo-Tooie. As was reported by them during a B-T test drive over the summer, you could get the secrets from rabid living Banjo-Kazooie cartridges programmed into B-T. Needless to say, even the most diehard Rare fans couldn't believe this. It made us more ill than the guy sitting next to Paul Reubans during his infamous "Pee-Wee's Playhouse On the Go" incident in the early 1990's. It wouldn't have been so bad perhaps if when you broke open the little plastic polygonal sucker, they made a huge deal that the legendary Ice Key was sitting right before you. Instead, the Ice Key just plopped to the ground, void of the spinning action that was burned into our brain for the last two years. Indeed, it was very odd that Rare didn't even bother to give the Ice Key it's old characteristics (or make it its original size), which looking back should have been a good indication that all was not kosher in the land of preconcieved notions. Instead, it almost made us too furious to even get pumped up about the game.
So then the time came and many of us Banjoites finally got Tooie. Most of you that bought the game probably ripped open the box to check the shape of the cartridge when you got it home. Was it a lock-on? Did it have any special features that would allow a connection to Banjo-Kazooie? Indeed, there was nothing of the such. Just a plain old N64 cartridge, the Tooie game was. By that point though, most Banjoites had given up hope for a connection, and were just happy to finally have a new Banjo game to play. So we played and we played, and then we rode off into the sunset together. The end?
If only it were that simple. A few days had passed, and most people had put the connection business behind them. Oh sure, we still wanted to know why Rare didn't include it, but it was no longer the gruesome witch hunt against the British developer that we originally envisioned. Banjo-Tooie had proven itself to be their best DKU N64 offering yet (and dare we say to all the Goldeneye and Perfect Dark fans...their best N64 game period?), and that was good enough for the masses. Credible game sites (much more credible than us, keep in mind) officially reported that the connection feature had been dropped either for glitch problems, cost concerns, or the rush to get the game out for the holiday season. Like tickling a slumbering giant, this prompted Rare to awaken in a state of confusion. FGNOnline was the first to break the information that would set the world on fire. They were told by Rare that the connection was still very much in the game, and that gamers would have to get everything before they could get access to it.
That leaves us to where we are right now. Where exactly are we right now? About a mile and a half from having any clue what's going on. This feels exactly like the days surrounding Banjo-Kazooie's release when people began to beat it and were wondering what the inferno "Banjo-Tooie" was and how they could get that filthy spinning key. When we finally got all the information from Rare that we would need B-K's sequel B-T to get the secrets in B-K and to bring them back to B-T, we figured that we wouldn't be placed practically right back in the same state of "what now" when people began to beat Banjo-Tooie. Indeed, we thought that it would be as simple as finding switches to go back to Banjo-Kazooie or something similar. Instead, the big mystery now is not "how do we get the secrets," but "how do we go back to get the secrets." While trying to remain spoiler free, there are people who have gotten everything (at least, so they may think) in B-T already and haven't recieved any magical trainride back to B-K. Instead, it looks like the way back is hidden. The fun just never ends with Rare, does it?
"Coupled with the mysterious state of the cheat list in BT, Rare's statement that the connection is still in makes almost too much sense..."
-Andre, Rareops (a Utopia of fruit and honey that's not only ambrosial, it's finger licking good)
There are plenty of things that could be used as evidence in Banjo-Tooie for a connection (although it's true that Rare has commented that there is indeed a way to get back to B-T, it's always nice to have something to follow up on). As mentioned in the quote above, there are missing cheat numbers between the final Cheato code and the first Heggy code when looking at the cheat list. If you don't care to be spoiled, let's just come out and say right now that the question mark eggs that are already programmed into Banjo-Tooie give you a few new abilities and features (although they're nothing to set the world on fire). Heggy is the one who hatches the eggs for you (all but the yellow question mark egg). Could the other slots be filled up with abilities (and maybe even far more exciting ones) you get from the eggs in Banjo-Kazooie?
When looking at the pathetic Ice Key you get programmed into Tooie, there are a number of curious factors. Number one is how sad the whole situation is (as mentioned somewhat above). The thing just falls out of the cartridge and lays on the ground like a helpless kitten. Not only that, but it's considerably smaller than what we saw in Banjo-Kazooie. Third, the location isn't that well hidden (actually, does anybody find it odd that all the secrets that are programmed into Tooie can be found in the first few areas of the overworld, and in practically plain sight?). Fourth, when you look at your Item menu when in possesion of the key, you get a number one next to it (the number one in numeral form, 1, next to a small picture of the key), as if there are more than just the one you find in the cartridge (although this doesn't neccesarily mean anything, it's a point to be brought up). Finally, there appears to be a second slot on the door that you stick the key in. There's the standard keyhole, but then there's a horizontal polygonal indentation on the door where a second key could go. How curious.
Other points of connection interest in B-T are the pictures of such things as Sharkfood Island raised that you'll find on walls, places out of reach like the "Flume of Doom" ride near the entrance of Witchyworld, the fact that the part of Gruntilda's Lair you can enter in B-T is named Gruntilda's Lair with Entrance after it in parentheses (why would they label it Entrance if you couldn't go into any more sections of it in the game?), and the strange factoid that there were 100 Jiggies in Banjo-Kazooie (10 in each world) but only 90 Jiggies in Banjo-Tooie (10 in each world). You figure out what we're suggesting with the last comment.
When it gets right down to the nitty gritty, this is a queer time for us Banjoites. We're back in the position that Rare puts us in so often (where we want answers on mysteries, but they remain quiet up in Twycross). It's even tougher for the webmasters and site owners, who are constantly having to retract past stories about a connection being active or the connection being taking out of the game (we're no exception, as you're probably aware). Heck, 90 percent of the "connection clues" listed here probably have nothing to do with the truth, and are just red herrings originating from our overactive imaginations trying to piece together something to work with. The one thing we know is this: Rare has said there is a connection between Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie. That's all we know. Who, what, when, where, why, and how all remain to be seen. While we can whine about how unfair this all is, and how much of a headache it's causing, deep down we all know the truth.
We're loving every stinking minute of it. If the world was a simple place, we'd have no reason to.....eat.....tapioca (now was that a terrible way to end this or what?).